RTI - Response to Intervention

by Learning Team B SPE/584

RTI Defined

Response to Intervention is defined as a process by which students are evaluated in effort to provide early identification and assistance for students with learning and/or behavior needs. A tiered instructional process is typically a three level procedure that RTI utilized to correctly identify and aid students with exceptional needs.

During tier one, the student receives instruction similar to that of common core reading and math curriculum. Educators typically receive extensive and specialized professional assistance to adequately deliver tier one instruction. If tier one is insufficient to meet a student’s needs, tier two will address those deficiencies.

Tier two students are those who did not meet standards through benchmarks or established education goals, but do not need as extensive intervention as those in tier three. Tier two will provide further instruction to help students reach goals.

Tier three is delivered to students who need an individualized and intensive form of intervention. As well as tier three being more intensive, this level also focuses on building very specific skills as opposed to strengthening overall academic areas.

Big image

Identification of Students for RTI

The identification process for RTI once involved an exclusionary model which stated: “…[a child that does not have] a disability that that adversely affects educational performance, and the child is not retarded, does not have a visual, hearing or motor disability, is not emotionally disturbed, and is not negatively affected by environmental, cultural or economic disadvantages, it is likely that the child has a learning disability” (Peter, 2011). This is a move from a discrepancy model, which required a discrepancy between the child’s IQ score and their academic achievement record to determine the presence of a learning disability.

The issue with the discrepancy model is due to bias in standardized testing, the over identification of minorities, and the inclusion of students who otherwise were not learning disabled but rather performed poorly due to lack of exposure to subject matter, quality instruction, or both.

Now, an inclusionary model of identification assesses the student’s overall functioning to determine the presence of a learning disability and it’s impact on learning. The inclusionary model follows tiers of instruction while also assessing:

  • Student demonstrates low achievement.
  • There is insufficient response to effective, research-based interventions. A systematic plan for assessing change in performance must be established prior to intervention.
  • Exclusion factors such as mental retardation, sensory deficits, serious emotional disturbance, language minority children (where lack of proficiency in English accounts for measured achievement deficits), and lack of opportunity to learn should be considered.

Key Stakeholders in RTI

The need for early identification of students with learning or behavioral needs was recognized on a federal level during the reauthorization of IDEA. Committees from both the House and the Senate showed concerns with models of identification of special needs students that use IQ tests. Reports by both committees showed that methods such as RTI are more accurate indicators of children with educational or behavioral deficits. Additionally, the President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education recommended that the identification process for SLD incorporate an RTI approach (IDEA, 2007).

On the local level, key stakeholders include a wide group of people who have a vested interest in ensuring students receive the appropriate amount of intervention. This includes school administrators, classroom and special education teachers, reading specialists, ESL/bilingual specialists, school psychologists, social workers, speech language pathologists, and even the student's parents and family members.

Legal Implications

The Response-to-Intervention movement is enabling public education in the United States to evolve from a reactive model in which students had to seriously deteriorate before being moved on to special education programs, to one that emphasizes early and high-quality research-based interventions in regular programs that generate useful data with which to make key decisions for each struggling student. This evolution, however, has taken place against a backdrop of legal requirements for special education referrals and evaluations that remain almost unchanged from those of more than 30 years ago.


“Strategies used in secondary interventions usually include a) a focus on additional instruction and practice and b) increased structure or explicitness, be they academic or behavioral in nature. Additional instruction may include reteaching of critical skills ("double-dosing" an academic or social behavior lesson) or teaching lessons at the student's instructional level, with ample opportunities for practice. Examples include repeated reading (Hasbrouck, Ihnot, & Rogers, 1999) or math fluency timings (Rathvon, 2003), and teaching or reteaching school-wide expectations or social skills lessons (Gresham, 2002; Langland, Lewis-Palmer, & Sugai, 1998). Increasing the structure or explicitness provides students with high-probability opportunities for success (Fuchs, 2009).” ("Integrating Academic And Behavior Supports Within An Rti Framework, Part 3: Secondary Supports", 2014).

References and Information Sources

Fletcher, J. (n.d.). Identifying Learning Disabilities in the Context of Response to Intervention: A Hybrid Model. Retrieved January 20, 2015, from http://www.rtinetwork.org/learn/ld/identifyingld

IDEA - building the legacy of IDEA 2004. (2007, January). Retrieved from http://idea.ed.gov/explore/view/p/,root,dynamic,QaCorner,8,

Integrating Academic and Behavior Supports Within an RtI Framework, Part 3: Secondary Supports. (2014). Retrieved from http://rtinetwork.org/learn/behavior-supports/integrating-academic-and-behavior-supports-secondary-supports

Shapiro, E. (n.d.). Tiered Instruction and Intervention in a Response-to-Intervention Model. Retrieved January 19, 2015, from http://www.rtinetwork.org/essential/tieredinstruction/tiered-instruction-and-intervention-rti-model

Wright, P., & Wright, P. (2011, December 5). Specific Learning Disabilities, Discrepancy and Response to Intervention Models & IDEA 2004 by Peter W. D. Wright & Pamela Darr Wright - Wrightslaw. Retrieved January 20, 2015, from http://www.wrightslaw.com/idea/art/ld.rti.discrep.htm